Thursday, 10 December 2015

Guest Post - Moving Into Your Own Place After Uni

Whilst I'm moving home, I've asked some lovely blogging ladies to fill you in on all things housey!

Next up is Codie from Codiekinz sharing her experiences of moving from shared accommodation at uni into her first home of her own. A lot of this brings back memories for me too!

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In your first year of University, living in shared accommodation seems like the coolest, must fun thing ever. It's like you're on Friends and you can't ever imagine not wanting to live with a random group of people. Flash forward to your third year, cleaning the gross microwave (which you totally did not do!), with your lungs full of mould from your damp student house, living on pot noodles because boy, do landlords like to take you to the cleaners! You tend to find that this is the time that you begin to be desperate to never house share again...!

Moving into your first post-Uni home is somewhat of a surreal, yet amazing experience. Personally, I couldn't get around the fact that we were allowed candles! For real! Not to mention the fact that we didn't have to hide from our landlord that occasionally we might have friends stay over! Amazing!


There are of course some slight downsides to this life however. If something needs doing in the house, whether that be washing up, food shopping or bills paying, it's kinda all down to you. Also, you're no longer a student, so some behaviours are not acceptable. Building a fort out of beer cans for example, or keeping a chunder chart on the fridge.


You may begin to experience strange sensations when you go into a shop. You may find yourself inexplicably drawn to home wear and looking at cushions could evoke feelings that you once associated with Kurt Geiger heels. Sundays may be spent un-ironically wandering around IKEA in excitement and you will maybe even find yourself discussing which shade of cream is best for the towels.


Moving into your first home is likely to be uncharted territory, full of council tax and furnishings, but boy is it worth it!

♥♥♥

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Guest Post - My Favourite Seasonal Candles

Whilst I'm moving home, I've asked some lovely blogging ladies to fill you in on all things housey!

Next up is Heather from Of Beauty And Nothingness. I'm a big fan of candles, especially at this time of year so I'll need to check out these recommendations!

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Candles are some of my favourite products to use and buy at this time of the year, I use more candles during the autumn and winter months than I do for the rest of the year. I love food, baking, woody and christmasy scents at this time as they are just so cosy and inviting on colder, crisp days. I have tried so many candles *probably more than I should* but here are my current favourites from The Great Escape, Yankee Candle and Old Stable.


Yankee Candle has been one of my favourite brands for the past few years. My aunties and friends are big fans too as most people are! Some of my favourite scents include: Christmas Cookie, Vanilla Chai and Midsummers Night - all of which would also be perfect for autumn/winter. However my current favourites are Witches Brew and Christmas Memories. Witches Brew is the perfect halloween scent as it is so musky and magical, if that even makes sense! Whereas Christmas Memories is a lovely spicy, cinnamon scent that reminds me of Christmas baking.

Recently, I've started to stray away from Yankee Candle, to try something new and I discovered the amazing brand - The Great Escape which make gorgeous handmade candles. The Mississippi creme brûlée and Jaipur spiced ginger candles are not only gorgeously presented and would make fantastic gifts but they smell incredible. The spiced ginger and creme brûlée scents are perfect for christmas time as they remind me of baking and comfort food. The Great Escape candles have a unique crackling wooden wick so it crackles as it burns which is such a nice and autumnal touch.

Another brand that I've been loving but annoyingly I forgot to photograph is Old Stable. As with The Great Escape candles, the Old Stable candles are made of environmentally friendly soya/eco wax. I have the Old Stable 'The Pantry' candle, can you see a theme here with my favourite scents!? The candle has a crackling wick and the scent is so heavenly but it isn't overwhelming as some candle scents can be.

Overall, I cannot recommend these candles and brands enough, I love the scents mentioned especially for the autumn and winter months as they are so cosy, warming and inviting scents.

Heather
www.ofbeautyandnothingness.co.uk

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Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Guest Post - Respecting The Light: Why You Should Wait To Paint

Whilst I'm moving home, I've asked some lovely blogging ladies to fill you in on all things housey!

Today's post is from Lins of Boo & Maddie, who works in IT and owns a really cool kids clothing boutique, Daisychain Baby. Lins blog features lots of home ideas and tutorials, so I'm glad to have her expertise on painting (as I'm a bit gung ho with these things)!


When we moved into our home back in February 2014, we were both desperate to get underway with changing anything and everything. We bought a beautiful but very neglected 1930s semi-detached in SE London and both the previous owners and the ones before that had really, really “lived” in it

Unfortunately in between putting in an offer and actually picking up the keys, it was a couple of months of one of the wettest winters and we suffered some unexpected damp problems so decided to get the house damp-proofed before we moved in and wow, I had NO idea how messy that process would be.

It left us with a wall of bare plaster in the living room, one in the hallway and one in the dining room and so by the time we moved in, it pretty well resembled a building site which is never what we expected. 

Determined to get underway with our plans, we had a few decorators round to come and give quotes – it would never be the “finished” job because we hadn’t had a chance to think about colours but at least to touch up the shoddy blank white canvas we’d inherited. Neither of us were painters and we didn’t have time.

Armed with quotes, something just seemed to stop us moving forward. As the months went by and other jobs took priority, we lived with all the plaster patches and realised it just wasn’t worth it to pay someone to paint something that would only ever be temporary.

Our little kitchen was in desperate need of a makeover and I realised it would be the perfect opportunity to have a go at painting myself – it was dark red and a lack of light made the walls feel like they were closing in. I chose to paint it white and realised that painting wasn’t so impossible after all, especially if I was only planning something short-term.

With the kitchen painted, I then started realising just how much the light in the house ebbed and flowed at different times of day, and also different seasons. Our living room has a big bay window which floods with light during the morning and has warm hues of yellows and reds. By the afternoon the sun has swung round completely and although it’s still lovely and light, the tones are cooler with more blues and greys.

It’s something I’d never noticed or appreciated before – just how much light can play a part in your decorating decisions and how colours can completely change from one day to the next. We used a Dulux paint called “Misty Mirror” for a mini en-suite makeover and sometimes it looks blue, sometimes grey and sometimes lilac. It’s the perfect colour for the room but wouldn’t necessarily have been my first choice had I rushed in.

Nearly two years on, we still haven’t decided on colour schemes, there’s a lot of other work we need to do to most of the rooms first like replastering, replacing ceilings and floors but I have now got round to covering up all the plaster bare so it at least looks tidy.

Along the way I’ve honed my painting skills and now find it really therapeutic. I’m far too fussy to trust myself to be able to do a final painting job and so when we opted for a dark grey our little 4th bedroom that we turned into an office, I did bite the bullet and pay for someone to come in and do it but the end result is perfect so it was worth it (don’t be afraid to try dark colours in small rooms, the grey we chose makes it look bigger than the white wallpaper that was there before!).

My recommendation would be to anyone who’s moving home, wait to paint. I know it’s easier said than done depending on the state of the house you’re moving into but all my original colour thoughts have completely changed now we’ve spent time here, getting to know the house and all its different qualities, watched the changing light and seasons. You never know, you might just learn a new skill along the way.



Monday, 7 December 2015

Guest Post - A Guide To Shared Ownership

Whilst I'm moving home, I've asked some lovely blogging ladies to fill you in on all things housey!

Next up is Rhian Westbury and everything you need to know about shared ownership. It can be really hard to get onto the property ladder and this can be a great starting point as Rhian explains:

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Just over three years ago I moved into a shared ownership property. When I tell people about my property a lot of them look confused when I mention shared ownership, or just don’t understand how it works so I thought I’d fill you all in about it.

What is a shared ownership property?

A shared ownership property is a property which is part owned by you through a mortgage, and part owned by a housing association or another party.

Why do you want a shared ownership property?

I chose to get into shared ownership because property prices are so high it is incredibly difficult to get on the property ladder regardless of your age. I was a single girl who was fed up of renting (although I only did it for a year) and to live on my own my options to buy somewhere where I had to earn a stupid amount of money to get a large mortgage, or I needed a deposit of about 75% of the property which wasn’t going to happen (esp just outside London where I live!). Because a shared ownership property is only partially yours you need a much smaller deposit and a smaller mortgage which makes it more manageable.

How much does it cost?

Generally with shared ownership properties you will own slightly under half of the property (for me it’s 45% but it can be as low as 25% in Central London) and the housing association owns the other proportion. Because of this you will pay a monthly mortgage for your part and monthly rent to the housing association for the half you don’t own. With some properties (mainly flats) there is also a service charge for things such as grounds maintenance, communal electricity, lift maintenance etc. This might sound like a lot but monthly I pay very little more for my 2 bedroom shared ownership property as I did for renting a 2 bed flat (which was horrible!)

If you are thinking shared ownership is the way forward you will need a little bit of spare money alongside your deposit for solicitors fee’s and other small costs. For example I had to pay a financial advisor to go through mortgage stuff and paperwork (although this was well worth it!)

Who decides on what percentage you can buy?

Generally the housing association will choose how much you can buy and when you first begin you will have a lower percentage of the property than the other party. After a few years should you be able to you can increase your share should you want to but every property has different rules. With shared ownership you can’t get a property if you earn enough to get a full property so in theory you won’t earn enough for more shares.

Are there any negative aspects?

The only negative I can think of is the fact that you still have to pay rent so you are ‘wasting’ a little money, but people only do it when there’s no alternative so if you have a shared ownership property you won’t have a choice. I’ve heard the properties can take a little longer to sell as well because you get a share alongside the housing association, but i’ve yet to come to this point yet (maybe ask me again in 10 years).

How do I find shared ownership properties?

I was very lucky because I spotted a block of new-build flats and saw the advertisement there but there are so many websites where you can view shared ownership properties in your area. These properties go very quickly (a set by me sold out before the building work was finished!) so it is very much about being in the right place at the right time.

Are they really worth it?

100% yes. I have been in my property just over three years and love it. I have my foot on the property ladder, collateral in a mortgage which can be paid off/ put towards another property later in life and it’s so much nicer than renting. Shared ownership properties tend to be new/newer buildings so for example with my flat I was the first person to move in which was great. I have been able to decorate which is something I could never have done in rented accommodation and the earlier you get on the property ladder the quicker you may someday pay off your mortgage!

♥♥♥

Friday, 4 December 2015

Guest Post - House Renovations: The Inside

Whilst I'm moving home, I've asked some lovely blogging ladies to fill you in on all things housey!

First up is my friend Jen from Jenstar Knits. Not content with being a full-time engineer, superstar knitter and owner of Jenstar Knits, she's also renovating her home whilst being pregnant! Phew! Jen has written a three-parter on the various stages of her stunning extension!

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As well as putting on the extension the rooms at the back of the house have change considerably. As shown in my last installment, walls have come down and doors have been removed. What we were aiming for was a large open plan living space to the back of the house, increasing the kitchen space, opening up the dining area and of course creating a new living space looking out to our yet to be landscaped garden.

Kitchen: Once we had kicked things off with Dab Den in respect to the extension our thoughts, or should I say my thoughts, turned to the kitchen. Although the current kitchen was a large room there was actually very little storage and workspace so this was the perfect opportunity to remodel and get something to my exact specification. Many weekends were spent browsing showrooms and catalogues but in the end it was a trip to Denmore kitchens that really got my heart racing. I talked through our requirements and my vision for what I wanted to achieve such as the mixture of textures and colours as well what I wanted from the layout and appliances, I left them with what our budget was and awaited the call back to go see their proposals. I have to say they got it spot on, the mock up was exactly what I was after, and after a little persuasion, James came to see what I was after too (to be fair up until that point I had been talking about completely different finishes). They came out to the house to confirm sizes and then provided us with a date and schedule.

Figure 1 - Before

Bang on time the workmen arrived and by end of day one the old kitchen was completely ripped out. The gas to the old hob was blanked off and the new pipework for the new sink was in place.

Figure 2 - Gone

By midweek all the new units are in place and the appliances are in place. We went for an induction hob, integrated dishwasher, single oven and combi oven and full height fridge and freezer. With a baby on the way ease of cleaning, maximizing storage and freezer capacity is key.

Figure 3 - During

Bang on target, the whole kitchen was in and complete by the end of week. The only things left are the pelmet for fitting once the flooring was in and the custom splashback which is made to measure and will be fitted once our decorator has been. I can’t believe the difference we are finding already. We have yet to fill up all the cupboards, not that we haven’t tried. We are still getting to grips with some of the appliances but everything works better and quicker. I think it’s safe to say we’re delighted.

Figure 4 - Complete

Flooring: As we have two dogs and a baby on the way we wanted something practical yet stylish. We also wanted the same flooring throughout the new open space so it had to work well in the living, kitchen and dining areas. We had originally thought that engineered wood flooring would work well for us but then we discovered the new Moduleo Impress range, a vinyl flooring with a textured finish. Available in lots of wood textured finishes it’s durable, attractive and probably most importantly steam mopable! Ordered and fitted through the Flooring Lodge, the entire space was completed in a day! Pretty good going considering how large a space it now is! The space is finally beginning to feel like ours and with a few finishing touches such as the decorating and wood burning stove to happen in the next couple of weeks are grand plan of having everything finished and us “moving in” by Christmas still looks on track.

Figure 5 - Flooring

Figure 6 - Just needing a lick of paint

♥♥♥

You can catch the final instalment over on Jen's blog once it's completed. I can't wait to see it, this couple have great taste!


Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Guest Post - Home Renovations: The Build

Whilst I'm moving home, I've asked some lovely blogging ladies to fill you in on all things housey!

First up is my friend Jen from Jenstar Knits. Not content with being a full-time engineer, superstar knitter and owner of Jenstar Knits, she's also renovating her home whilst being pregnant! Phew! Jen has written a three-parter on the various stages of her stunning extension!

♥♥♥

Week 1 Foundations - The work began on Monday 7th of September, the first week of an 8 to 9 week build. It was all go, with a skip arriving, mini digger on the scene and two workmen needing supplied with tea and coffee to keep them going. It was hard going for them as it turned out that there were huge amounts of rocks and rubble under the very thin layer of top soil, one rock proving so large that it was immovable with the equipment and manpower on site so the structural engineer had to be called out for a site visit in order to assess what should/could be done with it in order for the foundations to be laid. Thankfully it was a agreed that this rock was so large that it didn’t require moving and that pilot holes should be drilled into it so secure the concrete pad which would be poured on top. Thankfully this didn’t set the guys back at all and progress was swift – including ripping out the raised bed and patio to the back of the garden.

Week 2 framework – Work speeded up a pace with the timber framework going in and the structural beams arriving on site. The floor is heavily insulated with not one but two layers of foil backed insulation.

Week 1 Foundations - The work began on Monday 7th of September, the first week of an 8 to 9 week build. It was all go, with a skip arriving, mini digger on the scene and two workmen needing supplied with tea and coffee to keep them going. It was hard going for them as it turned out that there were huge amounts of rocks and rubble under the very thin layer of top soil, one rock proving so large that it was immovable with the equipment and manpower on site so the structural engineer had to be called out for a site visit in order to assess what should/could be done with it in order for the foundations to be laid. Thankfully it was a agreed that this rock was so large that it didn’t require moving and that pilot holes should be drilled into it so secure the concrete pad which would be poured on top. Thankfully this didn’t set the guys back at all and progress was swift – including ripping out the raised bed and patio to the back of the garden.

Figure 1 - Day 1 - the big rock

Figure 2 - Day 5 - foundations

Week 2 framework – Work speeded up a pace with the timber framework going in and the structural beams arriving on site. The floor is heavily insulated with not one but two layers of foil backed insulation.

Figure 3 - Day 6 - deliveries

Figure 4 - Day 10 - the floor

Week 3 walls – The walls of the extension went up extremely quickly due to the method of construction used by Dab Den; out with the labour intensive (and as a result expensive) mortar and block walls and in with the well insulated and incredibly quick to install CIP walls. (CIP – composite insulated panels). These are made to order foam filled chipboard panels that slot together with the frame in no time. The roof also goes in speedily and like the floor is heavily insulated with the two layers of insulation.

Figure 5 - Day 11 - steel beams

Figure 6 - Day 13 - CIP walls

Figure 7 - Day 15 - membranes

Week 4 windows – What windows? Due to a hold up at the supplier there were no windows to install so instead the guys moved on to the internal rearrangement and preparing the inside of the extension for the internal fixes. Down came the wall between the kitchen and the dining room and we also had the door opening to the dining room blocked up as it’s right next to the kitchen door.

Figure 8 - Day 20 - door what door?

Figure 9 - Day 20 - wall be gone

Week 5 walls – The big reinforced concrete beam arrives and gets installed and out came the old external wall between the dining room and the extension. This was a major milestone and finished off a week of more internal reconfiguration with a radiator being removed and a new sleek radiator for the dining room going in and the removal of the patio doors from the kitchen.

Figure 10 - Day 23 - radiator

Figure 11 - Day 25 - big opening

Week 6 Windows – yes we have windows!! They arrived on the Friday and the guys wasted no time in getting most of them in. Prior to this they had cracked on with the plasterboarding and the first fix for the electrics on the inside and the larch cladding and final roofing finish on the outside.

Figure 12 - Day 30 - windows inside

Figure 13 - Day 30 - windows outside

Week 7 Trims – The cladding is now on and most of the external aluminium trim has arrived and is fitted. The decking to the garden is also fitted and from the outside certainly things are looking fantastic.

Figure 14 - Day 35 - nearly there

Week 8 Plaster – After a slower week as the builders didn’t have so much to do on our site the plasterer arrived and we are now good to go for getting the kitchen installed.

Figure 15 - Day 40 - Plastered

Figure 16 - Day 40 - looking good

All in all the build went smoothly – this is in no small part due to the flexibility of Dab Den to work around suppliers and keep things moving when some of the parts or sub-contractors were unable to be on site when originally planned. There are of course a few snagging items still to be completed but I have no doubt that the finished extension won’t just meet but exceed our expectations and we can’t wait to move in properly and really make use of the space.

♥♥♥


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